On 20 January 2005, over 300 people gathered outside Downing Street to protest against the continued detention without trial of eleven men under the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001.
Those present, many of whom were from Muslim organisations, were protesting at the government’s refusal to release those held without trial under anti-terror laws, despite the recent historic House of Lords ruling that their continued detention was unlawful. (See IRR News story Law Lords rule ‘terror detentions’ discriminatory and disproportionate).
Speakers included Gareth Peirce – solicitor for many of those detained, Ashfaq Ahmad – father of Babar Ahmed whom the US government is currently trying to extradite, Massoud Shadjareh – Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Mark Thomas – comedian, Dr Adnan Siddiqui – Stop Political Terror, Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui – The Muslim Parliament, Hugo Charlton – Green Party Chair, Jean Lambert – Green MEP and Mike Mansfield QC.
Estella Schmidt of the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities told IRR News ‘The Law Lords have finally judged what so many people in this country have felt for some time, that the powers of internment this government is using to detain a number of foreign nationals are illegal, threaten all our freedoms and cannot be justified. The government must respond in the only way possible, and release the detainees and change the law which allows internment.’